Kidnapping means that you have taken a person (not necessarily a child) from one place to another, and moves them against their will. Frequently kidnapping stems from emotional break-ups or divorces when one person is so distraught that they take the other and hold them captive. It can also occur where someone is being robbed and they are taken against their will to the property location.
Pennsylvania law takes into account a kidnapper’s intent and whether the alleged victim went along willingly.
Kidnapping is one of Pennsylvania’s most serious crimes, and if you took somebody against their will across state lines, may also face federal charges. If you have been arrested for kidnapping, you need an experienced attorney who will listen to your side of what happened and provide a strong defense.
In Pennsylvania, kidnapping is a felony of the first degree and it is punished with up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.
What is Kidnapping?
You are guilty of kidnapping if you unlawfully take someone from one place to another, or if you unlawfully confine them for a substantial period in an isolated place, with these intentions:
- To hold them for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage
- To facilitate a felony or flight after a felony
- To inflict bodily injury or to terrorize a victim or another person
- To interfere with the performance of government or public officials
In kidnapping, force, threats or deception had to be used to move the victim. If you have been charged with kidnapping a minor, the penalties you face are more severe.
It is not kidnapping if the alleged victim went along with you voluntarily. If you did not have the intentions needed for the offense, such as holding someone for ransom, your attorney can use this in your defense. If the kidnapping arrest is based solely on an accusation and not on evidence, you will be in a stronger position to fight your charge.
Steps To Take If You Have Been Charged – Contact a Pittsburgh Kidnapping Lawyer
If you have been charged with kidnapping, your first step should be to immediately hire a lawyer. Since kidnapping is a first degree felony, you face some of the most serious consequences applicable under Pennsylvania law. You may be jailed overnight or for several days before your bond is set. While you are in jail, do not talk about the incidents that occurred with anyone other than your attorney. Don’t talk to the police or prosecutors unless your attorney is with you.
Do not consider any offers the police or prosecutors may make without talking to your attorney first. Your lawyer will have your best interests in mind and can help you make the decisions that are right for you under your specific circumstances. Do not have any contact at all with the alleged victim. If you phone or text them or otherwise communicate with them, what you say can be taken out of context and used against you at a trial.
When you meet with your lawyer, tell them everything that happened both before and during your arrest. If the alleged victim’s accusations are the only evidence against you, your position is stronger than it would be if there were additional evidence. Your attorney will analyze their claims for contradictions or obvious falsehoods.